Enumclaw council hears of one police promotion, one retirement

Sgt. Grant McCall was hired when his wife was pregnant. Now, as he’s promoted, his son has just joined the department.

Two major personnel changes within the Enumclaw Police Department – one retirement and one promotion – were highlighted during the Aug. 26 gathering of the City Council.

Chief Bob Huebler first stepped to the podium, telling the assembled audience that Officer Don Banner would be leaving the department at the end of August. Next, the chief noted the promotion of Grant McCall from patrol officer to the rank of sergeant.

Banner spent nearly 25 years with the department and worked in “a lot of capacities” during his career, the chief said. “He was instrumental in working as a field training officer and teaching some of our new recruits.”

McCall “has had a very successful career here at the Enumclaw Police Department,” Huebler said, rattling off a list of accomplishments. The new sergeant started with traffic, taking basic and advanced collision courses, which led to an interest in investigations. McCall spent eight-plus years working in investigations and “developed the foundation for our investigative team,” the chief said.

Additionally, McCall has served as the department’s lead firearms instructor, was a field training officer and once traveled to Virginia to be trained in fire investigations.

“Now its time for him to bring that knowledge out and share it with the other officers,” Huebler said.

McCall, whose promotion was effective Aug. 16, was present and took the opportunity to share “a short story…that has touched my family deeply.”

With that, he recalled standing before the council 23 years ago, being introduced as a new officer. In the audience at that time was his wife, pregnant with their son. Last week, while addressing the council as a recently-promoted sergeant, McCall noted that his son had – just that day – received a conditional offer of employment to also join the department.

It’s an opportunity, McCall said, “to work here with his father. And that is something that is very touching to us.”

McCall also told the council the police department is now in good hands. But, he recalled, there’s been some rocky times in recent history.

“The truth of the matter is, our police department over the last 20 years has had some very interesting days, to say the least. But the council a short time ago made a decision, and that decision was to change our management,” McCall said. He was referring to Huebler’s ascension to chief and the subsequent promotion of Tony Ryan and Tim Floyd to positions as commander.

“Since those promotions were made our department has made a 180-degree turn,” McCall said, admitting that change can sometimes be a scary thing. But Huebler, Floyd and Ryan has promoted a family atmosphere, he said, through professionalism and the way they treat everyone in the department.

“These men like their jobs, they love the community and they love the department, which means they love their officers and that’s very, very important,” McCall said. “Our department is on an uphill climb and we’re doing a really good job. These three men have made a difference in our agency, a big difference.”

In other action during their Aug. 26 meeting, members of the Enumclaw City Council:

• approved an annexation petition submitted by Mount Rainier Christian Center. The council’s affirmative vote was just the first step in a lengthier process.

The matter will wind up in the hands of the King County Boundary Review Board. If the BRB gives its blessing, the matter would return to the council for final approval.

The church property totals nearly seven acres at the intersection of state Route 164 and 244th Avenue Southeast. Nearly all the property sits north of the highway, with just a small portion south of 164.

• reinstated an incentive for swimmers to purchase an annual pass to the Enumclaw Aquatic Center.

A memo from Michelle Larson, Parks and Recreation director, explained that passes used to be offered at discount prices during June and December. Following formation of a Pool Citizens Advisory Committee, it was recommended the discount offers be scrapped following 2018.

Comparing sales from last year to the present, Larson noted a steep decline in revenue. In June 2018, annual pass sales accounted for almost $13,000; this year, the total was less than $4,000.

Following a staff recommendation, council members agreed to bring back the 15 percent discount on annual passes sold in June and December.

• approved a first reading of an updated version of the city’s Shoreline Master Plan. Having such a plan on the books is required by the state; further, state law mandates that the SMP be reviewed and updated every eight years. The city last accomplished that task in 2012.

The ordinance was passed on first reading and will return for final approval during the council’s Sept. 9 session.

• approved, on first reading, a preliminary plat for a new housing subdivision on Kibler Avenue. The issue was a contentious one.

On the surface, the matter was rather routine. A developer is looking to subdivide 7.07 acres into 21 individual lots for single-family homes. The property sits on the north side of Kibler Avenue, along Florence Street.

The tone turned accusatory when neighbors stated Native American artifacts had been discovered at the site, but the developer failed to disclose that information. The developer denied any wrongdoing.

The council, having received new information, will address the issue again at an upcoming meeting.